First ever commercial cultivation of super food chia seeds (salvia hispanica) by a unani doctor in the district is going to see a remarkable success, creating a great enthusiasm among the interested growers in and around the district.
Dr Md Razibul Islam, son of a retired high school teacher Abu Bakar Siddique of Shitli village under Harinakundu upazila has brought 29 decimals of land under the farming of this highly nutritious foreign seeds food item after its flourished experimental cultivation on one decimal of his land last year.
Every day a good number of agricultural entrepreneurs or marginal farmers from in and around the district are visiting the promising chia seeds field intended to grow this highly valuable healthy item on the land of their own.
Dr Razibul Islam, who always consider prevention of diseases better than cure, had known about the invaluable sesame-like seeds from various newspapers from 2017, was planning to grow this medicinal produce himself.
Medicinal chia seeds which turn into jelly when they are put in water to be processed can favourably be eaten with bread, pudding, cake, loaf etc.
Dr Asmaul Husna, Unani Medical Officer, Sadar hospital, Jhenidah, said, "Chia is a highly nutritious medicinal food. It is rich in omega three fatty acids, essential amino acids, antioxidants, fiber and minerals. Regular intake helps control cholesterol levels, normalisses blood pressure, controls diabetes, normalises digestion, and helps to maintain youth."
Chia seeds drink is a must for athletes who require a lot of energy to keep fit, she added.
This super food is mainly cultivated in Canada, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Chile, New Zealand, among some other developed countries, providing the people with somewhat a natural shield against the decay of the human body.
Easily cultivable chia seeds require a limited amount of fertiliser. However, organic fertiliser is much more effective for the crop to grow abundantly.
Dr Razibul said he used some organic fertiliser before sowing seeds and irrigated his field only thrice making his crop field look like a promising one to produce a lot of chia seeds this season. He has to do nothing more to cultivate this crop.
As chia is quite a new variety of crop in the area, no pest attack is seen. The grower has not to use any pesticide.
The fact that it needs only three months to grow and harvest this high value crop is drawing a lot of attention from the visitors coming to the field regularly.
Depending on the quality, a kg of chia seeds is sold ranging from Tk 1,000 to Tk 2,000.
Dr Razibul, also an agricultural entrepreneur, has started to cultivate this crop aiming at familiarizing the farmers of the country with chia cultivation as it is substantially economically beneficial as well as enriched with nutrition.
Dr Razibul said, "Food safety has been ensured in our country but what we greatly need now is nutrition safety. Keeping this in mind, I have taken initiative to commercially cultivate this lucrative crop. And it has already been proved that the soil and weather condition of our country is quite conducive to growing this crop successfully."
Md Hafiz Hasan, Upazila Agriculture Officer (UAO), DAE, Harinakundu, said, "To convert Bangladesh agriculture from subsistence to commercialised farming, chia cultivation will play a pivotal role."
"If we can grow a consumer group and can nurture the supply chain of chia seeds, it will open up a new horizon of agriculture in Jhenidah", he added.